Marshal re-opens in NZ with Auckland R&D centre

Recruiting enough people is the biggest challenge right now, says CEO

Email and internet content security software company Marshal is back in New Zealand. The company opened its new Auckland office and R&D centre seven weeks ago and there is room for expansion, says CEO Ed Macnair.

“If we can recruit people fast enough, we will have 50 staff in New Zealand by the middle of the year,” he says. “Our biggest challenge right now is to recruit enough people.”

The company was previously known as Marshal Software and acquired by global security management software vendor NetIQ in 2002. One of NetIQ’s first moves was to relocate several processing functions to the US and Europe, making local staff redundant.

In June 2004, NetIQ shut down the New Zealand operation entirely, at the cost of the remaining 25 jobs. All security development migrated to NetIQ’s development centre in Houston, Texas.

The new company is a result of a management buyout initiated by Macnair, previously head of worldwide sales of Marshal products at NetIQ. Macnair found an investment partner in the UK-based private equity firm, Kelso Place Asset Management.

“When we got the opportunity [to acquire Marshal] I jumped at the chance,” he says. “Last year I contacted the old Marshal team in New Zealand and asked if they wanted to come on board, and we got everybody that we wanted to get.”

At least ten of the original Marshal staff are coming back to the company, says Macnair. Among these are general manager of Marshal Asia Pacific John Skeates, who used to be the president of Marshal Software; chief software architect Peter Hodges, and chief technology strategist Kevin McFall. Hodges and McFall founded Marshal Software in 2000.

“They are all so excited to get their ‘baby’ back,” says Macnair.

Some developers from the Houston centre are coming to work for Marshal in New Zealand, he says.

Macnair says the reason for the split is that there was “no synergy between NetIQ and Marshal”. NetIQ traditionally sells its products through its own salesforce, whereas Marshal has always worked with resellers. From a development viewpoint, Marshal updated its products every six months, while NetIQ updated every two years, says Macnair.

When Marshal was sold to NetIQ in 2002 it had 6,500 customers. Today it has 17,000 world-wide, says Macnair.

“In New Zealand we have 1,500 customers, or about one million users,” he says. Based on the number of customers, Marshal is among the top three in the world in enterprise content security, according to Macnair.

“We have just finished our first quarter as an independent business and we grew 80% on the same quarter last year,” he says. “Our goal is to be in the number one spot.”

There are new threats evolving every day in the content security space, says Macnair.

“You have got to keep on updating,” he says.

To stay ahead of threats Marshal is developing a new threat analysis laboratory in Auckland. The Auckland operation will also include a small sales office and technical support.

Marshal is headquartered in London with offices in Auckland, Sydney, Houston, Atlanta, Johannesburg, Munich and Paris.